Predictive Marketer EverString Now Does Predictive Advertising
Firm also announces mega-round of $65 million, plus new survey showing marketers want more predictive prospecting.
On a roll, predictive marketing firm EverString is now adding a new demand generation tool to its arsenal.
The San Mateo, California-based firm, whose data model finds companies that are likely customers for its clients’ products, is launching its Predictive Ad Targeting this week.
In addition, the two-year-old company is announcing a new Series B round of $65 million, as well as new survey data that shows marketers are clamoring for more predictive marketing. EverString said this round — led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Sequoia Capital, IDG Ventures, and Lakestar — was the largest ever for a predictive marketing firm. Its customers include Comcast Business, IBM, Hortonworks, Apttus and Zenefits.
Predictive marketing uses data from marketing platforms, customer relationship management systems and other repositories to generate the ideal customer profile for a given product. It then tries to find prospects matching that profile, with the idea that they will similarly be inclined to buy that product.
This is the company’s first venture into advertising, which CEO Vincent Yang told me is being driven by clients that want more fresh leads.
EverString had been focused on two main offerings. One used predictive lead scoring to analyze info and determine which companies were the best prospects for sales, from among existing customers or from inbound inquiries, like visitors to websites.
The other used the same predictive magic to generate demand from potential new customers. EverString is oriented not toward individual leads, but toward account-based marketing, which targets companies or corporate units.
That effort to find new customers works well for clients that have substantial sales teams, Yang said, because it requires follow-up cold calling, nurturing with marketing materials and other techniques to turn a new company that has, say, downloaded a white paper into a buyer.
But some clients that don’t have large sales teams were also asking for new prospects, he said.
[pullquote]Yang noted that this blending of ad and marketing tech, along with sales tech, is “inevitable” because of one key fact.[/pullquote]
“There are only two ways to use demand generation” to find prospects for those kinds of clients, he said — pushing efforts through cold calling and other such aggressive means, or pulling that demand via ads.
EverString has set up its own demand-side platform for buying ad space on Web and mobile websites and in mobile apps, and it’s serving the ads — only banners for now — from its own servers. Yang said native and video ads are being considered.
With the addition of predictive-targeted ads, EverString now offers services for locating the best prospects among existing customers or inquiring companies, new leads that can be explored by sales and new leads that come calling.
This move into ads by EverString is only the latest example of the long-envisioned merging of ad tech and marketing tech. For instance, Adobe‘s and Marketo‘s major marketing automation platforms are steadily adding more sophisticated advertising capabilities.
Yang noted that this blending of ad and marketing tech, along with sales tech, is “inevitable” because of one key fact: they all generate very valuable data which can be used throughout the ad, marketing and sales processes, and that data sharing brings them together.
EverString’s new positioning makes it seem comparable to the older DemandBase, which also serves ads to account-based targets. But Yang said the difference is that DemandBase’s targeting is “rule-based,” where the targets are requested from the client. By contrast, he said, EverString utilizes machine learning to search the intent and other data for new target companies.
This approach, he said, finds new prospects outside a client’s normal realm. In its five-month beta testing of its new Predictive Ad Targeting, for instance, EverString claims it has lowered customer acquisition costs for three major, unnamed client companies by 40 to 50 percent.